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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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From mail to meals, owners of former post office seek OK for eatery

Updated 1:04 pm, Wednesday, January 30, 2013
  • The owners of the former Post Office building on the Post Road are seeking a variance to reduce required parking spaces. Photo: File Photo / Fairfield Citizen
    The owners of the former Post Office building on the Post Road are seeking a variance to reduce required parking spaces. Photo: File Photo

 

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The new owner of the former Post Office building downtown hopes to win the stamp of approval to convert part of structure into a restaurant.

The owner, 1262 Post Road LLC, is seeking Zoning Board of Appeals approval for a variance on parking requirements to facilitate the project.

William Fitzpatrick, the lawyer who represents 1262 Post Road LLC, said about a half-dozen potential restaurateurs have expressed interest in locating in the brick structure. A specific tenant, however, has not yet been chosen.

"They would like to get the process moving," Fitzpatrick said of his clients, who bought the circa 1935 building in May 2012 for $4.3 million from the U.S. Postal Service. The downtown Post Office has moved into smaller quarters in the office building next door.

A ZBA hearing on the variance request, which also seeks reduce the side setback on the east side of the building from 10 feet to 5.3 feet, will be held at 2:45 p.m. Feb. 7 in Sullivan-Independence Hall.

The applicants intend to renovate and expand the building, while maintaining the center facade of the original structure. The front of the building adjacent to the Post Road will house a restaurant with a patron floor area of 1,800 square feet. Plans also call for a seasonal outdoor patio for the restaurant extending to the west from the front stops and wrapping around the building along the west side.

Four separate retail spaces are planned at the rear section of the building.

The owners are asking that parking requirements be reduced from the required 91 spaces to 59, arguing that the anticipated restaurant demand will be in the evening, when the retail uses on the site are not generally open for business. Lunch hour clientele is expected to be downtown shoppers, business owners and employers that will not generate any "material" parking demand, according to the application.

If the ZBA variance is granted, the applicant must still secure Town Plan and Zoning Commission approval for the plans, Fitzpatrick said.

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